Okay. Get the big idea?
I’ll be honest. Before I had Seabass in May, my relationship with The Big Guy was going through a bit of a dry spell. Dunno why, exactly. Perhaps because life was so good I didn’t see a need to depend on anyone or anything else to get me through my embarrassingly miniscule difficulties. I’d just started working from home, writing articles for glossy magazines from the comfort of my couch – sometimes even my bed. When the work was finished, I’d take a walk or do yoga, receiving many an ooh and aah from kind onlookers at the site of my bulging belly. People opened doors for me. They let me cut in line at the post office. I read and drank tea and took naps and prepared decadent meals for Jake to come home to. It was heaven on earth, and I knew it wasn’t going to last.
Then Seabass took the stage, and I started praying. BIG TIME.
Have you ever been rocked so hard by something that you almost can’t pray, though? Sure, for the first month and a half, I was in God’s face a lot. Please, dear God, help me to be strong. Help this precious baby to latch on properly. Give me the strength I need to get through this day on zero sleep. Grant me patience to get this blasted onesie over his head, onto his arms, and snapped at the crotch without calling the suicide hotline. Amen. There was a sense of temporariness, of transition. God couldn’t possibly expect me to continue in this manner every minute of every day…could he?
But at around eight weeks post-partum, I realized that God could expect that. And he did; Seabass remained as obstinate and impossible as ever. With no end in sight. And that’s when I quit praying.
I told you I’d be honest!
The irony, of course, is that I want more than anything for Seabass to grow up knowing that God loves him and is deeply familiar with every cell of his being. Like so many parents throughout the history of the world, I want for my child what I’ve been seeking for myself all these years: a rock-solid intimacy with the creator of the universe. I can’t give Seabass that gift – only God can – and I certainly can’t model it for him unless it’s real because – let’s face it – kids are brilliant at identifying phoneys.
So I’ve decided to start praying again, looking for the kingdom of God in every diaper change, dirty dish and deadline. (Footnote: Brother Lawrence.) Practically speaking, that means:
- I pray in the morning with the covers over my head, whether or not I feel like I have anything to say. My inspiration comes from Susannah Wesley, mother of Christian theologian John Wesley (1703-1791), who reportedly covered her head with a dish towel at the kitchen table when she needed to pray, so small was the house she shared with a husband and seven children. Those kids learned early on to leave mommy alone when she had the towel over her head. And look: Her devotion gave rise to one of the greatest theologians and abolitionists of all time.
- I surround myself with people who have the sort of faith I want. So I joined a Bible study with some other new moms. We bring our babies and talk, read and pray, trading off kid-watching duties. We’ve only met once and I already love it.
Ultimately, Seabass’ faith will be entirely his own. But if I can lean on a power greater than myself, accepting what is while also courageously venturing into what could be, he’ll at least see faith modeled, and I will be more at peace with life on life’s terms. Win-win.